Highlights of the Winter ’21 release

Highlights of the Winter ’21 release

A new Salesforce release is coming! Tomorrow, to be exact. From 12 September ’20, the new release is available in most sandbox environments.

The release notes (preview) of Winter ’21 have been published. Since the list of new changes and updates is very long, I picked out 10 of my favourites. Each item has instructions on how you (the administrator) can apply them in your own environment.

Why should you care about the new release? Because there will be new and exciting features that will make your life easier, but also: by getting your org ready beforehand, you can (and will) save yourself some urgent support tickets the morning after the next release, no matter how simple or complex your set up is.

Main areas and topics:

  • General functionalities
  • Service Cloud
  • Community Cloud
  • Sales Cloud
  • Sharing & Security
  • Prepare your org for the release

1 – Supported browsers (General)

Let’s start with one that’s often overlooked (or ignored): the supported browsers for using Salesforce. With every release, there’s a new change, so keep an eye on this section in the release notes. Full overview: https://sforce.co/35l1yOt

For this release, the main changes are:

  • From 31 December 2020:
    • Lightning Experience does not work on IE11
    • Support ends for both Classic and Lightning on the non-Chromium version of MS Edge
  • On tablets, either use the Mobile App or if it’s an iPad, use Safari in landscape orientation (turn on the orientation lock)
  • Safari and IE11 are not supported for using Einstein Analytics.

What does “not supported” actually mean? In short: it might work and it might not work. But if there are issues, don’t log a case with Salesforce and expect them to fix it.

2 – Surveys (General)

When creating a new survey or a copy of an existing survey, select Create survey as a template to create a template. After creating the template, users can open it and click Make a copy from the top-right menu, to create their own survey based on the template.

Screenshot of new survey screen

The top-right of the editor / builder, is also where you see the indicator ‘Template’ (not in the list views or on record detail-page)

Menu button

3 – Dynamic Forms (General)

For custom objects only: in the Lightning App Builder, you can now show fields and sections dynamically.

Open a Lightning Page of a customer object, in the App Builder. Click Upgrade Now, which appears when you click on the Record Detail component.

This will take you through a few steps the Record Detail component will change. You can now add (from the Fields-tab in the sidebar) field sections and then add fields to that section. Each section can have its own filters and properties, like any other component.

4 – Lightning Flow – Run before delete (General)

Just to make sure we’re aligned: this is not about workflows or the flows you make with Process Builder. This is about Lightning Flow (aka visual flows or just ‘Flow’), which got quite a few improvements in recent releases. Lightning Flow is the new shiny functionality, which might eventually replace all workflows and Process Builder flows.

This is quite a big improvement: you can trigger a Flow to run before a record is deleted. No need to ask developers to write something (quite simple) in Apex anymore!

When you create a Record-Triggered Flow, click Edit on the Start-element.

Flow start element

Then choose Trigger the Flow When: A record is deleted

Flow start element deleted record

It’s that easy!

5 – Lightning Flow – Auto-Layout – Beta (General)

Usually I try to stay away from writing about Beta functionalities, but this one might help a lot of you to actually start using the Flow functionality. It’s not as scary and complicated as it used to be.

What does it do? Elements in the canvas are spaced and connected automatically. Of course, it looks nicer and the lines will actually be straight this time, but there is also a lot less clicking back and forth between the sidebar and the main canvas. For existing flows, simply click the switch in the top-right corner.

When you click the plus-sign under an element, this pops up, so you can choose from the relevant elements and not have to search through all elements available in the sidebar.

There are a lot, really a lot, more updates for Lightning Flow in this release. There’s improved debugging of error messages, using AND and OR in all elements and also org variables that are available everywhere, not just in formulas.

Message me (fill out the form on the right) to discuss what has changed and how you can use it.

6 – Email to case threading (Service Cloud)

Ref ID’s are awesome, right? They’re also ugly and people tend to remove, copy, combine or update them, which messes up the case routing.

Ref ID’s (aka Thread ID) are going to be phased out.

Emails will be matched by information in the email-header instead. More information will be available soon, but there will be an upgrade path to ensure your Email-to-Case functionality will still work once the release is rolled out. An exact date for ‘end-of-life’ of the Ref ID will also be communicated at a later stage.

Also, check if your org has any automation (flows, apex etc), validation rules, formula fields, email templates or Quick Texts, that depend on the Ref ID.

7 – Print record details / lists (Community Cloud)

Salesforce is a cloud platform, but that doesn’t mean stuff doesn’t get printed. Up until now, it’s been quite a challenge to print any records or list views as a Community (portal) user.

The screenshots show how a record can be shown in a print-friendly layout. The same works for list views. Most objects support Printable View; see the release notes for the list of objects.

From the record-page, click Printable View

This screen will open in a separate tab:

8 – Guest user access (Community Cloud)

The Guest Users of your community will be restricted in some of their permissions. This applies to the Guest User Profile (checkboxes will be deselected) and permission sets (users will be unassigned from the entire permission set).

This applies to any standard or custom object with the permissions:

  • View All Data
  • Modify All Data
  • Edit
  • Delete

Especially the Edit-permission can be quite a change to your community. Check if, at any point in the process of your guest users, Edit-access is needed. If it is, you should consider creating Community-users.

In my previous blog, I talked about the Release Updates and several of those updates will be enforced with this release. Please double check your guest users and profiles.

9 – Create Email Templates (Sales Cloud)

Of course, creating email templates has always been possible in Salesforce. These templates were quite basic and not very appealing unless you know HTML. Now there is a drag-and-drop template builder, which works very similar to the Page builder.

Go to the tab Email Templates and create a new template. Save the template.

After saving, open the template and click the Edit in Builder-button in the top-right.

As you can see, this is a major improvement, compared to the current template builder.

10 – Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) (Security)

These days a username + password is not sufficient anymore. It’s time for an additional layer of security. This functionality used to be called two-factor authentication (2FA).

To help you set up MFA, an assistant will be available, before 17 October 2020. It looks like it will only be available in production orgs. No information about sandboxes is available at this stage. The assistant will take you through 3 steps: getting ready, rolling out and managing MFA.

Prepare your org for the release

Now you’re probably wondering what to do with all this information? Short answer: start planning and preparing.

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